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HOME > Education > Educational program of the Faculty of Medicine

Educational program of the Faculty of Medicine


Students enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine must complete six years of study. This is two years longer than other departments.
In addition, as of 2016, those students who successfully complete the six-year program and obtain their physician’s license must go on to a two-year residency where they learn about the various aspects of being a doctor through practical experience.
Through this educational journey of at least eight years, students build the knowledge, skills, mindset, and demeanor they will need to become doctors responsible for patients’ lives and well-being.

The ideal doctor

We want our students to have a solid general and professional education and exemplify the following characteristics as doctors:
  • Demonstrate warm acceptance of all kinds of people without discrimination and have a broad perspective
  • Medical knowledge and skills developed through a well-balanced study of basic and clinical medicine
  • Be able to accurately address patients’ needs using their professional expertise
  • Have an international perspective which aspires to contribute globally, while also addressing local healthcare needs

Curriculum and educational highlights


Common curriculum for students in all faculties (general education)

  • A complete comprehensive education only possible at a large university with eight faculties covering the humanities, sciences, and medicine.
  • Students build a wealth of human skills as they learn alongside friends pursuing various fields of study at the expansive Sugimoto Campus.

Education in basic medicine and social medicine

  • Basic medicine: The comprehensive study of the structure and functions of the body at all levels from molecular to systemic.
  • Social medicine: The study of health insurance systems, legal issues, and public health on a local, national, and global scale.
  • At the end of Year 3 (the conclusion of the first half of the program), students conduct a six-week research project as a teaching (or laboratory) team member.

Clinical medical education

  • In-depth lectures from experts in each clinical field.
  • Clinical rotations at the University Hospital, which has over 800 beds and over 60 departments and sections.
  • Students strengthen their practical skills with a total of 12 weeks of bedside learning in two six-week sessions at partner hospitals in Japan and abroad.

Breakdown of the six-year educational program

Year 1

The program kicks off
  • Students prepare for medical courses by building a solid foundation in topics such as biology, physics, and statistics.
  • They also take foreign language classes to help them work as a medical professional on the international stage.
  • Students begin ethics classes, introductory classes, and communication classes for medical education.
  • They get to see doctors in action by participating in an early exposure program at a general hospital.

Year 2

Medical education starts in earnest, along with anatomy labs and other labs
  • Researchers at the forefront of their fields lead lectures and labs for basic medical education.
  • In lectures, students learn in depth about fundamental elements of life including molecules, cells, metabolism, genes, development, and immunity, both conceptually and in practice, as well as body systems responsible for various functions, including the musculoskeletal system, blood, the nervous system, and the cardiovascular system.
  • At the same time, they learn about the history of medicine and information science, and build on their communication and language classes from Year 1.
  • In labs, students frequently discuss data from tests such as electrocardiograms and blood tests to develop their comprehension and decision-making skills.

Year 3

Students take more clinically focused classes on topics such as the pathogenesis, mechanisms, and treatment of diseases
  • Why do people get sick, and how can diseases and injuries be classified?
  • Students learn about pharmacotherapy fundamentals and concepts from the perspective of how drugs interact with the body, as well as processes for drug discovery and clinical trials and challenges.
  • They learn about how pathogens (e.g., bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites) cause various infectious diseases, and about pathogenicity and immunity. They also learn about mechanisms by which pathogens develop drug resistance. In these classes, students also get plenty of practice with various staining, culture, and identification methods.
  • Their first social medicine classes also start at this point.
    In the area of environmental health, students learn about social determinants of health and approaches for maintaining and promoting health. In the area of public health, they attend lectures about topics such as infectious diseases, statistics, and health systems, and also learn basic epidemiological theory.
  • In the area of forensic medicine, they learn how human death is defined and its relationship to the law from the perspective of laws regarding the social responsibilities of doctors (for medical disputes and accidents).
  • Students begin learning about the diseases of each organ system and body function from the perspective of basic medicine.
    They develop their knowledge of the etiology, pathological features, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of various diseases through lectures and histopathology labs.

Year 4

Students start taking practical clinical courses
  • Starting in Year 4, the focus shifts to courses on individual hospital departments and sections, and the content is more clinical and practical. At this stage, students begin learning about specific symptoms, diagnostic methods, and treatment methods for individual diseases and disorders of organ systems and body functions.
  • In their introduction to clinical rotations at the end of this year, students prepare for their clinical clerkship that will start in Year 5 by learning techniques for diagnosis and treatment and appropriate bedside manner in a setting as close as possible to actual clinical practice, while also using tools such as simulated patients and human body simulators.
    They also deepen their understanding of various medical concepts through constant presentations, role play, and group work until they can explain them in their own words.
    Through these exercises, students gain skills in information-gathering, logical thinking, and communication that will develop their ability to handle a wide variety of different situations and solve problems.

Year 5

Clinical rotations through each department and clinical clerkship at hospital wards
  • Students spend two weeks as a team member in each department, where they are charged with the care of actual patients under the supervision of attending doctors. They learn how to practice as a clinician by deciding what tests to perform to diagnose disease or evaluate a patient’s condition and by making treatment plans.
  • By seeing with their own eyes how attending and senior doctors diagnose and treat diseases on the basis of various real-life data from tests such as blood tests, cytodiagnosis, endoscopy, ultrasonography, radiography, CT, and MRI, and proactively asking questions and speaking, students can build a deeper understanding of medical practice.

Year 6

Twelve weeks total of elective clinical clerkship, a unique feature of the Faculty of Medicine curriculum
  • Students engage in two 6-week sessions of elective clinical clerkship, selecting the sites themselves, one in the first semester and another in the second. They can select their site from any of the departments at the University Hospital, as well as other partner facilities and medical facilities in other areas such as Aomori prefecture. In some circumstances, they may also be able to select medical facilities outside Japan.
  • All clinical rotations up through Year 5 are part of a set program that has been prearranged, but the clinical sessions in Year 6 are elective.
    The student’s experience will depend strongly on the medical facility they choose, the patients who visit, and the condition of those patients.
    This is an unparalleled chance for students to grow as medical professionals by real learning from patients.
Graduation examination
  • The graduation examination is an important means of evaluating the wide range of knowledge of clinical medicine that students have acquired up to that point.
    Students who pass the graduation examination become eligible to take the National Medical Practitioners Qualifying Examination.
    The graduation examination is quite rigorous, and students often remark on its difficulty after finishing, but it is an important tool for verifying that students have retained the knowledge they will need as doctors.